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  1. #1
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    Icewind Dale 2 Lost son or Red headed stepchild?

    Released at the death of the original Infinity Engine Icewind Dale 2 seemed to be largely forgotten. Coming along just as the hype for the next generation of RPGs were building the game was widely regarded as "decent".

    So inspired by the recent Project Eternity kickstarter I've been playing through it for the first time. Just finished the first proper chapter and I'm honestly amazed at quite how much I'm enjoying it. The combat is very much the focus but crucially the combat is also much more fun. It still has the flaws of Baldur's et al with braindead enemy AI and a crippling lack of zone of control or attacks of opportunity meaning that enemies will just walk straight past your warrior tank unless you actually physically block the door. But it compensates somewhat by upping the numbers of enemies and making sure that encounters are triggered in groups rather than coming one at a time like the other Infinity games.

    The other surprising part is just how funny it is. Not in a "wacky" way but more like a self aware parody. Characters will mock you for carrying a useless item, there's jokes about bad pathfinding, you meet a group of adventurers complaining about doing a tutorial village and there's just a general sense of sass throughout.

    Honestly, I think I'm enjoying it as much as Baldur's Gate 2. Too early to tell about the writing but the gameplay is a lot faster, a lot more challenging and has a much more tactical feel with the sheer number of enemies forcing you to use formations and crowd control.

    Any one else played it?
    Last edited by Bhazor; 04-03-2013 at 05:42 PM.
    “People will kill you over time, and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases, like “be realistic”
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  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Casimir Effect's Avatar
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    It is great fun and has many memorable moments, but it suffers from having a main story which is hard to care about and antagonists who are the same. The game is far more a bunch of progressively higher level D&D dungeons than a cohesive experience.

    Also, the AI is the worst of any of the IE games and the pathfinding is a fucking nightmare, especially in some of the areas later on. Other areas are just an absolute chore to get through (just wait until you get to the Ice Temple). The start of the game is also the strongest part, in fact possibly the strongest start of all IE games.

    The writing is good though and that background, offhand humour stays throughout. As do the obscure skill use moments which get used just about once and then never happen again.

    Definitely the underrated game of the Infinite Engine ones, but there are some good reasons for it to be.

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    Also, the AI is the worst of any of the IE games and the pathfinding is a fucking nightmare, especially in some of the areas later on. Other areas are just an absolute chore to get through (just wait until you get to the Ice Temple). The start of the game is also the strongest part, in fact possibly the strongest start of all IE games.
    I'd say the path finding has been flawless so far. Certainly better than the original (unmodded) Baldur's Gate 2 or Planescape. For example in a cleared area I can just click the exit and I can be certain everyone will reach it. The other games on the other hand they have to be micro'd to the exit or else they'll get stuck behind a barrel and start spinning. The maps themselves also seem more complex with more high ground and more twisty passages.

    Again the AI is crap as always but the scale of the fights means they at least put up a decent fight and force you to be tactical and unlike Baldur's Gate the enemies will attack in groups rather than just being able to aggro one at a time.

    The writing is good though and that background, offhand humour stays throughout.
    Glad to hear that. Too soon to tell about the story but the rest of the writing seems surprisingly solid for something that's much closer to a dungeon crawler.
    Last edited by Bhazor; 27-10-2012 at 07:56 PM.
    “People will kill you over time, and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases, like “be realistic”
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  4. #4
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    The game starts out amazingly and then gets progressively worse unfortunately. I prefer the BG2 enemy AI because they use AttackReevaluate(30) instead of Attack(). The former means they look for a new target every so often, whereas the latter means they lock on and dog their target relentlessly, which gets tedious in the many encounters where a bunch of enemies comes from an unexpected direction and locks on to your mage (it's a bit like DA2 waves, I guess).

    Another problem the game has later is that higher-level 3rd edition play involves a lot of buffing, and hence a lot of recasting and resting and recasting, and there's no way to macro your combat setup. It'd be really good if you could set it up so that when you rest it casts all your stoneskins and other buffs.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Casimir Effect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    The game starts out amazingly and then gets progressively worse unfortunately. I prefer the BG2 enemy AI because they use AttackReevaluate(30) instead of Attack(). The former means they look for a new target every so often, whereas the latter means they lock on and dog their target relentlessly, which gets tedious in the many encounters where a bunch of enemies comes from an unexpected direction and locks on to your mage (it's a bit like DA2 waves, I guess).

    Another problem the game has later is that higher-level 3rd edition play involves a lot of buffing, and hence a lot of recasting and resting and recasting, and there's no way to macro your combat setup. It'd be really good if you could set it up so that when you rest it casts all your stoneskins and other buffs.
    Forgot about the buffing being annoying, although it did make a nice incentive not to abuse the rest mechanic. The game really needed something like this - http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view....Detail&id=403 - which is a mod for an item in Neverwinter Nights 2 that remembers the buffs you cast.

  6. #6
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    What always "crippled" the game for me was the level and XP scaling. In a dungeon crawler? Seriously?

    I started IWD2 more times than I can count, but I've never finished it.

  7. #7
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    Casimir, that sort of thing would be really useful. The main culprit for the buffing problem in 3rd edition video games is probably Stoneskin, when cast upon your front line fighters. Targetable stoneskin with long duration has always seemed bad in every game I've seen it in.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Casimir Effect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    Casimir, that sort of thing would be really useful. The main culprit for the buffing problem in 3rd edition video games is probably Stoneskin, when cast upon your front line fighters. Targetable stoneskin with long duration has always seemed bad in every game I've seen it in.
    It's hard not to abuse, as you almost always mights as well do it. And it's easy enough to get enough stoneskin casts to cover your entire party seeing as druids get it as well as mages (and Earth Domain clerics in NWN2 as well). If you have a sorcerer then in no time at all your entire party will get a stoneskin when they wakeup, making them that bit harder to take down. At least Greater Stoneskin and Premonition are caster-only.

  9. #9
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    I've recently been playing Icewind Dale in the NWN 2 engine. It's nice, but a bit of a crawl.

  10. #10
    I liked the part when you get to shoot lightning bolts out of a giant cannon and clear out an entire level with it.

  11. #11
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    IWD2 is great! The soundtrack is absolutely beautiful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Internet View Post
    I've recently been playing Icewind Dale in the NWN 2 engine. It's nice, but a bit of a crawl.
    I've been really tempted by this, how faithful is the recreation?

    Tom j

  12. #12
    Network Hub Salix's Avatar
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    I enjoyed IWD2 but I found the first one to be more memorable, maybe just because I played it first at a younger age when I had more time to appreciate it.

    (Also this is the first I've heard of IWD in NWN2, any chance of a link?)

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Casimir Effect's Avatar
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    Here - http://neverwinter.nexusmods.com/mods/31.

    I've heard only good things about it. The game is balanced for 4 party members but I hear you can tweak the XP gain to accommodate the traditional 6. Various changes have been made to make it fit better with the 3.5 Edition ruleset, and of course various skills/feats are now entirely pointless (all conversation ones for example).

    I'll be giving it a go at some point but am currently stuck in a Mask of the Betrayer playthrough.

  14. #14
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    I'd rather play NWN2 in the IWD2 engine to be honest.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomxJ View Post
    IWD2 is great! The soundtrack is absolutely beautiful.



    I've been really tempted by this, how faithful is the recreation?

    Tom j
    They keep the sound files and the world maps, the areas are recreated 3d, but very much in a similar (if sometimes less pretty) fashion from the original. It's been completely faithful so far, to the point that you can use gamefaqs.

    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    I'd rather play NWN2 in the IWD2 engine to be honest.
    Never played Icewind Dale 2. The infinity engine is a bit prettier with mods, but some of the UI improvements for the NWN 2 engine are nice. Also, I like a lot of the 3.5 edition character options as opposed to the 2 edition stuff.
    Last edited by Internet; 28-10-2012 at 11:50 PM.

  16. #16
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bhazor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    I prefer the BG2 enemy AI because they use AttackReevaluate(30) instead of Attack(). The former means they look for a new target every so often, whereas the latter means they lock on and dog their target relentlessly,
    Well I've played some more and that just isn't true. I've seen enemies change targets when attacked by a more powerful party member or when one member gets out of attack range and another member is still attacking them. It's not particularly bright, I've seen no ganging up on the weakest or going for the undefended mage, but they use formations keeping their archers back which again is a step above BG2.

    I've not seen any DA2 style "respawns out of thin air" yet and most enemies are already there milling about. Which I like, it's the first time in an RPG I've found myself having to rely on scouting. Finding the enemy mage and picking a path to get to them before the main swarm drops.

    I also just had a brilliantly cathartic fight in the fortress courtyard in act one.


    Which I managed without resting. /me flex

    All in all I'm enjoying this more than BG2. The characters aren't as good but the sidequests seem better and there just feels likes theres more oomph to the combat. Certainly the old exploits don't seem to work.
    But early days, early days.
    Last edited by Bhazor; 29-10-2012 at 12:18 AM.
    “People will kill you over time, and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases, like “be realistic”
    Dylan Moran

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